A Long Way from Mulch

Her naked foot rubs against
     the unborn blue of the mattress.
A tiny pair of socks airs out
     beneath the open-sky window.
Someone has gone running—
     but not very far, and not very hard.

The room might not be so big.
     They haven’t slept in it since
they hung his latest painting.
     It’s been too hot.
He could close the window, yes.
     But that wouldn’t keep
the dog from barking
     into all corners of the night.

It doesn’t matter,
     he doesn’t need sleep—
he is sure of it. Yet,
     he closes his eyes each night,
plays the game anyway;
     thinks invariably about
weather patterns, or
     his high school graduation.
Sometimes he just listens
     to what the house has to say.

Gasping, she awakes to the smell of him;
     rolls over and asks,
“What are you doing?”
     He stops breathing.
By morning she will have forgotten
     ever asking the question.

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